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Molluscum contagiosum is a chronic skin infection caused by a virus. It's quite common among children, and is usually spread by touching an affected area on a person infected with the virus. The virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact. Molluscum causes painless, raised papules or nodules on the skin that look like pink pearls. They appear most often on the face, neck, arms, hands and chest, although they may appear nearly anywhere on the body, including the groin. The growths are often indented in the center and have a firm, waxy core. Scratching can spread the infection, leading to lines or clusters of lesions on the skin.
Patients with healthy immune systems generally find that molluscum contagiosum clears on its own within six to 18 months. Patients should try not to scratch the papules, or else they risk scarring and bacterial infection. If necessary, a dermatologist can remove individual lesions.
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